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An end to underwriters? The challenges of machine learning

Bron: The Actuary - 06 juli 2022

In 2016, award-winning computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton stated: “We should stop training radiologists now. It’s just completely obvious that within five years, deep learning is going to do better than radiologists.”

Almost six years later, the UK has a record number of radiologist vacancies. Nevertheless, machine learning and its computer vision subclass have made huge strides since 2016. If Hinton were to repeat his quote today, it would not raise nearly as many eyebrows. Many in the insurance industry have begun to ask whether machines could now replace underwriters.

The current state of play

The protection industry has embraced digitalisation during the past few decades. No longer do underwriters underwrite every single policy – in fact, they don’t ‘underwrite’ any policies at all in
the literal sense. The application process is now mostly digital, made up of a mix of rule-based and manual underwriting, with more than 70% of applications receiving an instant underwriting decision.

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